Flashback

Only in America: Can Sarah Palin trademark her name?

The divisive Alaskan and her daughter want to block impersonators from profiting off them. Will Palin soon be Palin®?

The story: Political celebrity Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol have certainly become their own personal brands, says Suzi Parker at Politics Daily. And now, "these savvy women are taking all the prudent steps a brand holder does to protect an asset" by seeking to license their names as registered trademarks. That would presumably forestall the Tina Feys of the world from making money by impersonating the former Alaska governor. Palin's request, however, has been rejected — for now. The patent office wants more information about how Palin's name has been used for commercial purposes. Another factor working against the Palins: They both failed to sign their names on the application. They have six months to resubmit the paperwork.
The reaction:
Trademarking a name may be more common for athletes and entertainers, but politicians can do it too, says lawyer Marshall J. Nelson, as quoted by The Los Angeles Times. And with a few fixes, says Jen Doll at The Village Voice, Palin's application will likely be approved, "meaning the Palins can get back to the good business of just being Americans™." The real lesson here, says Zoe Fox at Time, is that "anyone hoping to profit using Sarah Palin's brand should act quickly, before the 2008 vice presidential nominee finds the 'sign here' line."

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